Cars, China and Smart Failure – POLITICO

With the help of Derek Robertson

In the third installment of our regular feature on Friday, The Future in Five Questions, Rep. Jim Langevin (DRI) — chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on cyber, innovative technologies and information systems — reflects on his hopes to introduce self-driving cars and compete with China.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What is the big idea being taken lightly?

Self-driving cars. It will automate transportation in cities and especially in rural areas, allowing more freedom of movement for people, especially people who do not drive. It will enhance our ability to move goods and merchandise across the country possibly more efficiently once it is completed.

I’m excited about what self-driving cars have to offer: autonomous driving that allows people with disabilities to live fully and independently in their communities. In my case, I have a driver who takes me everywhere, it would be nice to have the independence just to get in the car and be able to drive by myself safely. [Langevinis the first quadriplegic to serve in the House.]

What technology do you think is overrated?

I think TikTok is overrated. I’m personally sick of hearing about TikTok and don’t quite get it – but maybe that’s because I’m not a Generation Z user of TikTok.

I also have serious security concerns about TikTok, its ties to the Chinese government, and its ability to collect data on American people. In this day and age of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data sets, we don’t know how this information can be used now or in the future.

What book most shaped your perceptions of the future?

The book I’m reading now is called “Kill Chain” by Chris Bruce, former national security advisor to John McCain. The introduction talks about John McCain’s concern that China has been outmaneuvering us and investing both in future advanced technologies that will give them a disproportionate advantage, and in technologies that are investing in undermining our technological advantages.

I still think we have the advantage, but I also know that if we don’t watch the ball and invest in next-generation technologies – and create a culture where we accept intelligent failure and the ability to get through things – like hypersonics can fall behind.

What can government do in tech that it isn’t?

If we do not want to be overtaken by future technologies, we will need to be more involved in industrial policy. During the Cold War, or the ’80s and ’90s, we were confident that the private sector would outpace our global competitors with innovation, and this was true for the most part. This is not true in the 21st century now.

Think of 5G as an example. China and Huawei have outpaced the United States and our partners and allies around the world, developing the next 5G technology. Then they actually got involved in putting that 5G infrastructure into place so that national security concerns were finally raised to the highest levels. We need to invest in the next technology that comes after 5G, i.e. 6G or 10G.

The other thing is that I would say that we government can do more is encourage smart failure, especially within government. Companies like SpaceX get that, and Elon Musk is one of those people who believes in pushing his people hard and that if you don’t fail, you’re not doing enough. We need to inculcate this cultural shift here and within government in our research and development efforts.

What surprised you the most this year?

These offensive cyber operations have not been used extensively and aggressively either in Ukraine or against the United States and our partners and allies by Russia.

There are a variety of reasons for this, we are working on some of them. We’ve been deployed forward while working with our partners and allies around the world to make sure we help strengthen their cyber defenses. We were more resilient, but we did not see the Russians behave as aggressively in offensive cyber operations as we expected.

It was a great week for tech on the hill, But the party wasn’t over yet.

As reported by POLITICO’s Brendan Bordelon to Pro subscribers of Today’s Morning Tech Newsletter, Senate appropriations bills this week include an additional $1.5 billion payment to the National Science Foundation to advance “applied research,” or the process of figuring out how to translate lab breakthroughs into technology for everyday use. That’s on top of the “Chips and Science Act,” which combines support for microchip manufacturing and funding for research in areas like quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and more, and passed the House yesterday with a bit of drama on its way to President Joe Biden’s office.

Chips-plus-Science allegedly sends NSF $20 billion for those technologies, as well as 6G development and “advanced manufacturing” (i.e., semiconductor manufacturing). And if you thought lawmakers would stop there, think again: Brendan also reported today that Democratic senators are already considering reviving technology competitiveness legislation that fell by the wayside during the long negotiation process, including provisions on supply chain building and ticketing. Green is for STEM-skilled immigrants. – Derek Robertson

Reality check: Here’s the headline that may have been flooding your Twitter feed today: 50ft tall Adam Schiff announces results for the January 6 panel in Fortnite

Although we can’t blame you for thinking it might be true given the game’s massive popularity and use for other non-gaming purposes, such as Travis Scott partyWe are sorry to say that this is a satirical article from the Hard Drive website that has humor similar to the video game “Onion”.

Quoth Hard Drive fantasy PR for Epic: “Marshmallow, Travis Scott, Weezer, Star Wars, the Democrats, we’re going to wipe anyone out of this game if they pay us enough money and get people to play Fortnite for a few moments longer than they normally would.” What do you do.”

If such a thing were to actually happen in the future, it might not be the rationale for it who – which Sarcastic given the all-encompassing nature of the promised metaverse. For now, just enjoy your awesome Photoshop Chef on your hard drive looming over the “Fortnite” landscape, and have a great weekend. – Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the whole team: Ben Shrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Konstantin Kakays ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed.

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